Design and technology, as a curriculum subject, has a major role to play in developing in children the lively enquiring minds needed to cope with the technological demands of the twenty-first century. A carefully structured contextual involvement with materials, tools and associated equipment offers to all children enjoyment, excitement and expectation as ‘designers and makers’.
Working through the design process, children are encouraged to make judgements having aesthetic, functional, moral and economic implications for their own work and that of others. Communication skills will be broadened and the ability to work individually, or as a member of a team, will be developed.
Design and technology in the early years is the meeting ground for many of the thinking, practical and process skills which are developed elsewhere in the curriculum and which reinforce and are reinforced by the skills of designing and making. It develops the capability to see the job through from first ideas to finished product.
Children begin to develop this capability long before they arrive in school. Playing with toys and the many objects around them at home or at playgroups are their first taste of designing and making activities. Good design and technology teaching in the early years builds on these early experiences by broadening the range of materials and associated tools alongside the introduction of appropriate construction kits.
Children love to please and to be accepted, and here lies the potential danger in a subject such as design and technology. For, unless the right messages are given clearly, children are more likely to produce what they think